ITUC | Thursday, 26 June 2008
Colombia: Two More Trade Unionists Assassinated
Brussels, 24 June 2008 (ITUC online): Less than one week after the latest ITUC protest to President Uribe about the violence and repression against trade unions in Colombia, two more trade unionists have been murdered. The ITUC, together with its Colombian affiliates, CUT CGT and CTC, categorically denounce those latest atrocities. Twenty-eight trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia since the start of the year.
Favier Darío Pelaez Castaño, a member of the guard dog handlers’ group at a prison belonging to the Instituto Nacional Penitenciario y Carcelario (INPEC), was assassinated on 13 June in front of his wife and his youngest daughter, in Caicedonia, Valle department. On 19 June, Walter Anibal Recalde Ordoñez, also an INPEC officer, was murdered on his way home, one kilometre from the prison where he worked. Both were members of the prison employees’ union Asociación sindical de empleados del Instituto Nacional Penitenciario y Carcelario (ASEINPEC - CGT).
According to reports received, INPEC employees have been subjected to an ongoing terror campaign including attacks on their lives. Back on 12 March, José Gregorio Astros Amaya, a prison officer at Cartago prison in Valle department and one of the leaders of the ASEINPEC union, was assassinated.
In a letter to the President of Colombia, Mr. Álvaro Uribe, the ITUC asked the Colombian authorities to carry out an immediate and thorough investigation to identify the perpetrators of these two murders. "These crimes are a further example of repression against the Colombian trade union movement," stated ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. "The full weight of the law must be brought to bear against the criminals and the rights of freedom of association and free collective bargaining must be respected and applied."
The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates.